With the coming of fall, comes the start of new bible study groups in our churches and the excitement of studying with familiar faces once a week. As we look for guidance and teaching let us not forget to learn to fish. It is often so easy to only go for the prepared meal than it is to step into the kitchen roll up our sleeves and learn to prepare our own meal. And God’s Word is no different. However, we cannot depend on the once a month or once a week feedings that we receive from others but we must learn to prepare for ourselves and eat throughout the week as well.
Before Jesus ascended to heaven He gave the great commission for the disciples to go and make more disciples, to baptize them, and to teach them. But that commission to them did not end with them. It continues to this day. It is for every person who believes in and follows Jesus. Yet how can we make disciples, if we do not know the Word? What would we be discipling them in? How could we teach them what we do not know for ourselves? So then we must, ‘study to show thyself approved’ as Paul exhorts Timothy (2Timothy 2:15).
As women we’ve been easy prey since the beginning. In the garden, the serpent approached Eve not Adam. Adam didn’t enter the whole scene until he ate of the apple. So not only are we easy prey for the enemy but we are dangerous prey because should we fall, we have the ability to influence our head and cause him to stumble as well (and for our single sisters, while this may not apply to you just yet, soak up so that if/when it does apply you are prepared and proactive). So our choice to study God’s Word does not just affect us and
So what does this look like in action, beyond attending church and bible study? Well, start with your basic tools, a good bible (could be a reference bible or a study bible like the Life Application Study Bible), a notebook and a pen. Then, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you before you start. For some, it can be topical in which a bible with a great concordance and cross references is necessary or it can be book by book. You can follow along with a reading plan and take it into further study. Start with observing the verse or passage you are reading. To observe Scripture is to read it with open eyes. To take note of word play and note what words are repeated or seem to have deeper meaning, then looking them up. Then check out the context: the verses before/after especially on verses that begins with transitional words; also look at the historical and background context so that you get an idea of what was going on in society to warrant what was being said. It often helps to check out the introduction page of the book of the Bible as it often has key information to help with gaining historical and cultural context. Then, check out the cross references (usually located in margin) so that the Bible can speak for itself.
After you have observed and gained context, the next thing to do is to interpret or draw the meaning out of the Word. Be careful to draw the meaning directly from Scripture and understand the message the author is trying to convey. Also refrain from reading your personal situations and circumstances into Scripture. Always note that Scripture is never about us. However it can apply to us. Which brings us to the last step: application. Everything bit of knowledge and understanding we gain from Scripture does us no good unless we apply what we learn to our own lives first before we attempt to teach others what we have learned. Application is what James (1:22) spoke of when he said we need to be doers and not merely hearers of the Word.
Sisters, in order to love God, we need to know God. And the Bible is the main way God has chosen to make Himself known to us, to reveal His character, His promises, the consequences to sin, and His Son, our redemption from the consequences of our sin and pathway to personal relationship it’s God.